Headlines for Wednesday, November 28, 2012

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2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW:

Kia beefs up Forte sedan for 2014

Kia is beefing up the Forte compact sedan and loading it with upscale features for 2014. The redesigned Forte -- introduced today at the Los Angeles Auto Show -- sits lower, longer and wider than the 2013 version and rides on a new platform. Read More »

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AutoNews Now: Satisfied with Lexus, Mini

Buyers more pleased - but checking dealer reviews; battle-ready RAV4?; upscale Chrysler minivan; GM's Reuss talks green. Read More »

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Ram launches commercial truck unit, plans to add Fiat-based large van

Ram has formed a commercial truck division and confirmed plans today to introduce a large van based on the Fiat Ducato in the third quarter of 2013. The 2014 Ram ProMaster will be redesigned and tailored for North American commercial truck and van users, Chrysler Group said. Read More »

Mini to begin production at former Mitsubishi plant in second half of 2014

Production of new Mini models at a former Mitsubishi plant in the Netherlands will begin in the second half of 2014, a senior company executive said. Harald Krueger said that the company will decide in the coming months which models it will source from the former NedCar plant in Born, Netherlands. Read More »

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First Shift: A magnet for millennials

Toyota among automakers using online videos to lure young buyers; teens and texting; plus, test track for Porsche customers. Read More »

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2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW:

Fiat bets on 500e to challenge Nissan's Leaf

Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne is no champion of electric vehicles. But if he must produce one to appease California regulators, he won't mess with an Italian icon. After returning to the U.S. Read More »

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2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW:

Toyota RAV4 slimmed down, simplified for 2013 makeover

The Toyota RAV4, the first compact crossover to arrive in the United States, is getting slimmed down and simplified for the 2013 model year as the automaker strives to gain more ground in a booming segment. After its debut in 1996, the RAV4 quickly established itself as a strong seller. Read More »

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U.S. says A123 sale requires its consent

The U.S. government said bankrupt A123 Systems Inc. cannot be sold without its consent because the battery maker received a $249 million grant from the Energy Department, according to court documents. Read More »

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Detroit unnerved by looming fiscal cliff

Ford is making contingency plans, including possible production cuts, should the nation's economy falter if President Barack Obama and Congress go over the fiscal cliff during budget deficit and tax talks. Read More »

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2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW:

'One Ford' strategy to remain top focus, Fields says

Ford has spent the last six years developing a global product strategy under CEO Alan Mulally. Building on the plan is Mark Fields' top priority when he starts running the automaker's global operations next month. Read More »

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2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW:

Hyundai to continue fuel economy pitch despite inflated mpg claims

Fuel efficiency and mpg ratings will continue to be a focal point of Hyundai marketing, even as its trust with many U.S. buyers has been dented after the company exaggerated fuel economy figures on many models, the company's top U.S. chief said Wednesday. Read More »

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2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW:

Lentz: Toyota to push hybrids, hydrogen over EVs

Toyota will introduce 21 new or redesigned hybrid vehicles worldwide by the end of 2015 while limiting investment in electric cars, the company's U.S. chief said. Speaking at the Los Angeles Auto Show today, Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., said hybrids currently account for 3. Read More »

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Ford to upgrade, extend warranty on MyFord touch-screen system

Ford will upgrade and extend the warranty by two years on its MyFord Touch system following a series of consumer complaints and poor reviews of the automaker's touch-screen entertainment and navigation system. Read More »

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2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW:

Acura to offer four-wheel steering on RLX flagship

Acura's redesigned RLX flagship sedan will come with an advanced four-wheel steering system and an optional hybrid powertrain when it arrives in early 2013. The 2014 RLX will replace the RL, which is phasing out as a 2012 model. Read More »

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LUCA CIFERRI:

The not so prophetic story of the Fiat 500L

The Fiat 500L small minivan, which has its North American debut today at the Los Angeles auto show, is built in Serbia in a factory that once produced Yugo cars. Unusually for a car-manufacturing nation, only 1 percent of the production will be sold at home. Read More »

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MIKE COLIAS:

Next-gen Impala's sticker shows GM means business

It's hard to think of a recent vehicle that took a bigger leap to the next generation than the upcoming Chevrolet Impala. The 2014 Impala is sleek and sculpted, its plush interior loaded with technology. Read More »

Mini to begin production at former Mitsubishi plant in second half of 2014

Production of new Mini models at a former Mitsubishi plant in the Netherlands will begin in the second half of 2014, a senior company executive said. Read More »

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2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW:

New Porsche Cayman two-seater is lighter and larger

The renewal of Porsche's sportscar lineup continues with the unveiling today of a larger and lighter second-generation Cayman here at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Read More »

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Lexus, Mini are tops in sales satisfaction again, Power survey shows

Consumers are increasingly satisfied with the auto-buying experience, with Lexus repeating as the top-rated luxury brand and Mini again pacing mass-market brands in the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Sales Satisfaction Index Study released today. Read More »

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2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW:

Fiat expands lineup with 500 wagon, convertible, EV

Chrysler Group is showing three new North American versions of the Fiat 500 at the Los Angeles Auto Show today, including a plug-in electric and a four-door wagon. Read More »

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2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW:

Hyundai's Veloster-based C3 concept combines a convertible with a utility

Hyundai revealed a Veloster-based concept that is part convertible, part mini-ute today at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Read More »

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Fiat bets on Italian elegance to challenge Nissan's Leaf

Fiat Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne is no champion of electric vehicles. So even if he must produce one to appease California regulators, he won't mess with an Italian icon. Read More »

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Q&A:

Exploiting mistrust of big banks to win loans

Credit Union Direct Lending, better known as CUDL, is attracting more dealerships to list their inventory on its AutoSMART shopping Web site. The site, cudlautosmart.com, enables car shoppers to browse the dealership listings and then apply for a pre-approved loan through a credit union. Read More »

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Ford's small-car stumbling block: Young, credit-strapped buyers

Ford says getting young buyers financed is a potential impediment to its ongoing small-car strategy, including the launch next year of the face-lifted 2014 Ford Fiesta with an all-new three-cylinder variant. Read More »

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Auto-loan amounts reach 6-year high

Auto loans recovered from the latest recession faster than any other type of consumer credit, according to credit bureau Equifax. The good news for dealerships is that the average amount per auto loan has grown along with the increase in unit volume, Equifax data show. Read More »

LEGAL FILE:

Ex-Mitsubishi dealer plans to fight inclusion in suit charging loan discrimination

A pretrial conference is scheduled Dec. 17 in a Justice Department discrimination suit accusing a Los Angeles Mitsubishi dealership, now closed, of illegally giving less favorable loan terms to non-Asian borrowers. Earlier this year, the Ninth U.S. Read More »

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JIM HENRY:

5 signs of robust F&I

Here are five signs that dealership F&I profits will stay strong: Read More »

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LUCA CIFERRI:

The not so prophetic story of the Fiat 500L

The Fiat 500L small minivan, which has its North American debut today at the Los Angeles auto show, is built in Serbia in a factory that once produced Yugo cars. Unusually for a car-manufacturing nation, only 1 percent of the production will be sold at home. Read More »

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GM's Chinese joint venture to build $1 billion plant in Chongqing

General Motors and its Chinese joint-venture partners said today they plan to build a $1 billion auto assembly plant in the city of Chongqing as part of its push to remain the leader in the world's largest auto market. Read More »

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BMW's EV boss says i3 is no 'niche' model

BMW unveiled the i3 coupe concept, another variant of its i electric car subbrand, at the Los Angeles auto show today. Read More »

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Ally selling Europe, Latin America operations to GM

Ally Financial is selling its Europe and Latin America operations to GM Financial, a unit of General Motors, for about $4.2 billion. The combined operations in Europe and Latin America represented about $16.1 billion in assets at the end of the third quarter, Ally said in a statement last week. Read More »

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2012 LOS ANGELES AUTO SHOW:

BMW expands i-brand lineup with 3-door concept

BMW has provided the clearest hint yet that its lineup of i-brand electric vehicles will expand beyond the three models already confirmed for production with the unveiling of a three-door version of the i3 at the Los Angeles auto show. Read More »

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Chevrolet aims to keep defying Europe's sales slump

Chevrolet Europe Managing Director Susan Docherty has the task of maintaining the brand's growth in a slumping market. In the first 10 months, Chevrolet's European sales grew 1.9 percent to 150,402, according to industry association ACEA. Docherty took over the top job at Chevrolet Europe on Jan. Read More »

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